The Durango was redesigned for 2011 with new exterior styling and a surprisingly luxurious interior. Because of that top-to-bottom makeover, the Durango returns for 2012 with few changes. It does offer some improvements, however, including better fuel efficiency for V-6 AWD models, second-row captain’s chairs, and a few new exterior color choices. Behind the signature cross-hair grille lie Chrysler’s fuel-efficient 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 engine and a five-speed automatic transmission, which come standard. A 5.7-liter Hemi V-8 is optional, and it brings with it a new six-speed automatic transmission. Towing capacity is rated at 6200 and 7400 pounds for the two powertrains, respectively, and rear- or all-wheel drive is available with either engine. The Durango’s unibody construction is similar to that of the Mercedes-Benz M-Class and the Jeep Grand Cherokee and is a welcome contrast to the old body-on-frame chassis that punished occupants of the previous Durango. The interior features three rows of seats with room for seven, and drivers will appreciate items such as adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-path detection, and forward collision warning. The Durango might be the Dodge that most successfully combines SUV capability, crossover versatility, and carlike performance.
Drive: Rear-wheel, 4-wheel
Trim Levels: SXT, Crew, R/T, Citadel
Body style: SUV, 7-passenger
Engines: 3.6L V-6, 290 hp, 260 lb-ft
5.7L V-8, 360 hp, 390 lb-ft
Transmissions: 5- or 6-speed automatic
Passenger volume: 54.4 cu ft
Capacities: Towing 6200-7400 lb; cargo (behind third/middle/front seats) 17.2/47.7/84.5 cu ft
A six-speed automatic transmission is now standard on V-8-equipped Durangos. V-6 AWD models now get 23 highway mpg, a 1-mpg improvement over the rating for last year’s model. Also new for 2012 are second-row captain’s chairs.
Front, side, and side curtain air bags; traction and stability control; roll mitigation; hill-start assist; and trailer-sway control are standard. Blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-path detection, and forward collision warning are optional.
All: 13-16 mpg city/20-23 mpg highway
- Handles well for an SUV
- Capable tow vehicle
- New six-speed automatic
- Has some tough competition
- High front cowl somewhat compromises visibility
Carlike ride with SUV capability.
- Chevrolet Traverse
- Ford Explorer
- Honda Pilot
- Jeep Grand Cherokee